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Three years on, security eludes Afghanistan
Secretary-General's Special Representative has
painted a worrying picture of the situation in the
ALARM bell has been sounded on Afghanistan. Looking
beyond the specific actions of the Taliban and
Al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan, the Special
Representative of the United Nations'
Secretary-General, Jean Arnault, has placed a stark
assessment of the situation in Afghanistan before
the Security Council.
Briefing the U.N. Security Council on June 24, Mr.
Arnault said, "The violence had caused unspeakable
suffering and jeopardised the chances for rebuilding
in the most seriously affected regions ...
"United Nations agencies, like other international
bodies, had been obliged to have a low profile,
which impacted on the quality and quantity of
projects. The worsening security situation had a
negative impact for upcoming elections [in
September]," he maintained.
diplomatic, but pointed language, the Special
Representative didn't hesitate in pointing the
finger towards Pakistan. A U.N. press release issued
on Mr. Arnault's briefing said that another special
effort, a greater effort than last year, was needed
to address the worsening security situation.
[the Special Representative] also emphasised the
consequences of the violence on the political
transition ... the international response to thwart
the destabilisation strategy could not be limited to
combat operations on the ground.
was necessary to resolutely attack the financing,
the safe havens where they trained and the networks
that supported them. He welcomed the high-level
contacts between Afghanistan and Pakistan in that
connection. Also, the [Security] Council had a duty
to follow the situation closely and support greater
cooperation against terrorism, something that
Afghanistan needed today," the press statement
was needed most was to re-establish minimum security
conditions. After three years of trying, the
spoilers were still stonewalling in some regions.
There were urgent lessons to be learned without
delay," it added. While all these were "open
remarks", Mr. Arnault is believed to have told the
Security Council behind closed doors that the
political process in Afghanistan could be destroyed
if the international community didn't remain
Special Representative took the view that the
Taliban and the Al-Qaeda were stronger today than at
any time after the war was said to have officially
ended. Comparing the present scenario to that of
1992-94 when the Taliban took advantage of the total
insecurity and chaos that prevailed in most parts of
Afghanistan, Mr. Arnault said that the Taliban and
the Al-Qaeda were better equipped than before.
According to him, there were links between the money
being funnelled to militant elements and organised
crime, drug trafficking and foreign financial
backing. He claimed that the growing number of
attacks indicated a higher rate of border
international security forces may have sanitised
Kabul, it's evident that the U.S.-propped Hamid
Karzai Government has been unable to line up people
behind the reconstruction efforts. It's even feared
that any withdrawal of the current levels of
international security assistance could well lead to
the collapse of the Karzai Government.
Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan haven't
been great, principally because of what the Karzai-led
Government believes Pakistan is doing again in
Afghanistan. It is a fact that none of Afghanistan's
other immediate neighbours has any interest in the
further destabilisation of that country.
Al-Qaeda has been the target of operations by
Pakistani security forces in the North-West Frontier
Province (NWFP), indicating that the terrorist
outfit is far from finished in this area. It is,
possibly, these very areas that continue to provide
recruits to the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda in
Afghanistan. Three years after the "war" commenced
in Afghanistan, it's evident that the country
remains a mess, with Mr. Arnault admitting that
international agencies had to maintain a low profile
on account of the prevalent security situation.
inability to create an Afghan security architecture
— a truly national Afghan Army and a functioning
police force — lies at the heart of the security
failure in Afghanistan. Continued reliance on
foreign troops — whether from the International
Security Assistance force or the North Atlantic
Treaty Organisation (NATO) — comes with its own
costs. For many, having a non-Taliban government in
place in Afghanistan is success in itself. The time
for excuses is over. Three years on, the Karzai
Government must deliver both security and
This has also reduced the Karzai government's
ability to absorb the aid pledged by donors. Without
a perceptible improvement in the security situation,
relief agencies and the government itself cannot
undertake the projects urgently needed for providing
succour to the people. A continuation of the status
quo could only add to chaos, strengthen the warlords
and bandits and prolong the misery of the Afghan